This is a report of the fifth session of our Vaaran Kingdoms Sertorius session. You can see session four HERE.
Gaius: A Ronian-blooded aristocrat
Uloff: A Gru Trader
Garoff: A Gru Bounty Hunter
Dreckergael: A human hunter who casts spells randomly when wounded
Tauq: A human tribesmen from the march between Palus and Apprea, serving in the house of Alu-Bora under Archon Emmanuel.
Belga: A Dwarf Sertori with blue skin who believes he is a Gru
Vaela: A Hasri Sertori who has grown loyal to the party
Hamil Kar-Harba: The brother of the King and Gaius' uncle
Gesara: A Sertori hunter who leads a wing of the Church of Ramos against spell casters
Ruega: Daughger of Goff-Tannerhauch
Much of this session was devoted to dealing with the aftermath of the previous adventure. The party is now part of a council of Sertori established at the Tower of Goff-Tan with a large base of support in Goff-Tel, a nearby village. The council is called the Ser-Vel, mostly former prisoners of the previous occupant of the tower (Goff-Tannerhauch). They came to power by killing Goff-Tannerhauch and taking his family hostage. One of the daughters, Ruega, escaped.
At the start of the session the group had the second meeting of the Ser-Vel. They decided to divide into groups to handle help develop their strategy and tactics for reclaiming Palus from the current king. Uloff would lead Tauq, Vaela and Gregos to track down Ruega (Goff-Tannerhauch's daughter). Harch, Gaius, and Golgar would manage research into Goff-Tannerhauch's library to learn about the tower, Sertori and the Church of Ramos. Garoff, Belga, Crassus, Beor and Roona were placed in charge of managing diplomacy, defenses and tactics (Garoff and Belga focused on levying troops). Arius and Melqart were charged with developing methods for countering the blood cult and the Gesarians (mainly by reading Goff-Tannerhauch's extensive notes on his experiments).
Uloff's group tracked down Ruega to the village of Narna, a settlement under the authority of Goresios Maorides and managed by his son Lucas, the local Eparkos. Vaela had an information contact at the Red House of Narna who informed the party that Ruga was at staying at the Church and that she had sent two messengers earlier that day. Tauq, Vaela and Gregos went to the Church, while Uloff took a couple of followers to find the messengers.
At the church Tauq and the others were created by Mother Karima. Also there were six blood cultists pretending to be be lay people. The church was made of stone and a Tholos structure which indicated Ronian design. A second floor had been created with wooden crossbeams. Tauq told Mother Karima they were there to attend the daily sacrifice, and she allowed them to participate. Afterwards Tauq said he wanted to spend some time in the temple. Mother Karima allowed it but went to the upper level. As soon as the party started snooping around, one of the blood cultists attacked. In the course of combat Tauq was badly burned by a spell and Vaela managed to Captivate two of the cultists. Gregos used Impaling Spike to kill two of cultists, causing the remaining hostile ones to flee. When the party walked up to the second floor they found Ruega who immediately cast Vortegan's WHirliing catastrophe. She failed the casting, which meant the spell still worked but she had no control over it. A tornado of destruction ravaged the area killing Mother Karima and all the blood cultists in the first round. Tauq was knocked out and nearly killed, while Gregos was seriously harmed. Vaela evaded harm and pulled Tauq to safety. As Vaela dragged Tauq from the building Gregos exploded the upper floor with an Avalanche of Flame. He and Ruega were both killed by the whirling catastrophe the following round. Of course Tauq knew nothing of this, waking up hours later in the inn.
Meanwhile Uloff tracked down the two messengers and captured them. One had a verbal message he was to take to Drungarius of Castle Tongasha asking him to send word to the king and send forces to Goff-Tan. The other had a written message from Ruga that stated the following:
To the Sage and Pius Gesara Namburi of Palus,
Disaster has arrived. Father was attacked by the Sertori of the House of Bora and the entirety of the cellar. They killed him and Ruegar. There are many of them and you must tell to the king to prepare for conflict. I will go North to Qelna. It is our only hope of containing the Sertori. Before you send men to stop me know this: Qelna is no legend, nor is it the ruin the world believes. I have seen it with my own eyes, for it is visible to our kind upon close inspection. There is a weapon there, an artifact that only we can wield. With the sword I will be more powerful than an army and impervious as stone. Have no fear Gesara, father trained me well. I know the temptations, I know the limits of my own spirit. I will not succumb but defend the Kingdom from this evil horde.
Uloff returned to the Inn, and once they learned the fate of Gregos and Ruega, everybody set out for Goff-Tan once again. Before they left, one of Vaela's informants told him about an assassin named Rasimon who had been sent against the Ser-Vel by Ruga.
Garoff and Belga spent much of their time levying troops, estimating they could probably get 3,000 by the end of the next month.
Days later the Kings Brother, Hamil, arrived and the party decided to receive him as they would the king himself, making it clear he had the power and the council served a separate function.
The party investigated the assassin and learned about a medicine man who had recently come to the village and was staying with a local family. Investigating further, they became convinced of his guilt and decided to confront him. They surrounded the hut where he was staying and asked him to step outside. Gaius called Rasimon by name and said they knew what his plans were. However he said came to make a deal, not to harm him. They wanted to hire his services for themselves. Once Rasimon learned of Ruega's fate he was open to negotiation. He agreed to work with the party for 1,000 gold a year, a seat on the Ser-Vel and a small Palan Castle of his own. The party agreed.
They held a meeting of the Ser-Vel the following day in the court, with Hamil seated on Goff-Tan's chair. They discussed possible alliances with foreign powers, including the imperials of Caelum (as the Republic was embroiled in Civil War). They also discussed the different lords in Palus, who might join their cause, and how many soldiers each Lord could raise. They estimated the King had a total possible force of 50,000 troops. Their own forces maybe reached 15 to 20,000 at the present moment. They decided to send an emissary to the Imperials and an Emissary to Eshmunzar, the Lord of Hakdar-Kane (because they estimated he could raise 16,000 soldiers). Rasimon was also sent to kill the loyalist lord Vargus of Gel Hauch and his son (because Hamil believed they could position someone in their own family to take over his holdings). Many other matters were addressed. They discussed the possibility of working with Goresios (but this was rejected for the time being), sending assistance to Darios Tyrna and investigating the City of Qelna mentioned in Ruega's message. Arius was tasked with constructing a point by point refutal to the writings of Gesara.